Judge Denies Apple Ownership of Two Kodak Patents

Apple vs. Kodak

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper issued a summary judgement on Thursday that denied Apple’s ownership claim of two Kodak patents, saying that Apple waited too long to assert its claims. The summary judgement leaves open claims that Apple has against eight other patents.

The ruling covered the ‘218 and ‘335 patents, two of the key patents that Kodak is trying to sell as part of its bankruptcy proceedings. Apple has claimed that the patents are based on technology that Kodak misappropriated from a technology sharing agreement between the two companies dating back to the 1990s.

Judge Gropper essentially ruled that whether or not Kodak misappropriated the technology, Apple waited too long to make those claims. Trying to work that out now would be unfair to Kodak as it tried to work through bankruptcy proceedings.

“If Apple’s claims proceed despite their unreasonably delayed commencement, Kodak might have to go back to the drawing board for ways to fund its case,” the judge wrote, according to Bloomberg.

Apple has tried like the dickens to remove its ownership dispute with Kodak out of bankruptcy court, arguing that the issues involved were too complicated and needed to be handled at the district court level. Apple’s efforts have been repeatedly denied by both Judge Gropper and other federal courts that have consistently pushed the argument back to the bankruptcy court.

Kodak had also asked for summary judgement on eight other patents that Apple is contesting, but Judge Gropper denied Kodak’s request. Reuters reported that he said he needed more time to decide both companies respective rights on those patents.

In the meanwhile, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) recently upheld a preliminary ruling that the patents invalid to begin with, further mussing up Kodak’s plans to raise funds by selling them.